Tips for dealing with ODD behavior?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Steely, Feb 20, 2007.

  1. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    My son is in the peak of ODD lately - arguing about everying - and refusing to do anything! I am about to go crazy since all of my techniques are ineffective! What approaches have you guys used that have worked to jolt your difficult child out of non-compliance, and into participation?
  2. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    sequoia in the sahara, if we had an answer for how to get a 16 yr old out of ODD behavior, we would all be pretty happy.
    Is there something that he wants that can be a carrot?
    Is there a male adult that your son relates to that might spend some time with him?
    Is he involved with any extracurricular activities or hobbies?
    What about him getting a job? I'm just trying to throw out ideas that may stop the downward spiral.
  3. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    That's a tough one.
    Like Fran said sometimes a carrot will work. Sometimes I can redirect him with humor but sometimes that backfires too. Also be sure to choose your battles. Some things are just not worth the battle.
  4. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    I agree with both Fran and Wiped Out.

    There may be ways to get that carrot, though, without him really getting anything "extra". For example, if the clothes in my house don't make it in the hamper, they don't get washed. I don't go looking for clothes anymore. I will say, I'm getting ready to do laundry. Do I have all your clothes? 5 minutes later whatever is in the hamper gets washed. Nothing else. When they no longer have clean clothes to wear to school, they become motivated.
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    It sounds competitive. ODD can get to the stage where they are automatically oppositional out of habit and a constant sense of needing to assert 'rights' and grab as much strategic room for manouvre as possible.

    At yesterday's study day at school for difficult child 3 there was an almost altercation with another boy (from a behaviour class). difficult child 3 was trying to correct the other boy, he though he had picked up the wrong item and knowing difficult child 3 and his love of order, he was trying to help. The other boys' response was, "Mind your own business."
    difficult child 3's automatic, self-defence answer was "watch it." A warning to not get nasty. difficult child 3 has unfortunately learned bad social habits from years of being bullied. The behaviour student's aide pulled him back into line, but when I had a chance I asked to speak to him because I thought I had identified the problem - the behaviour kid had assumed difficult child 3 was trying to assert some sort of control, that it was competitive behaviour.
    When I got the chance (after asking the aide) I said to the boy, "difficult child 3 wasn't trying to get pushy or annoy you, he really was trying to help. But he hasn't got your level of understanding of how you get on with other kids. Don't get offended by him because no offence is intended. Socially, he's a five year old with a head full of information. He wants to help, not control."

    There were no more problems after that - no clashes, no conflict. The behaviour student accepted difficult child 3 with no reaction after that.

    ODD kids tend to react, often they're very touchy. I've found that if you oppose their reactiveness (as natural discipline would encourage you to do) it makes the behaviour worse. It's like tug of war. They pull, you pull. And for me, I'm just not strong enough.
    So I let go the rope. They fall over. Then get up and ask, "What did you do that for?"
    I indicate that I don't play those sort of games.

    You need new' games', new ground rules. Not easy. It helps if you can get a 'feel' for what sets them off, so you can a) avoid it; and b) work to switch it off ASAP.

    Ross Greene's stuff does work, if you can use it. It seems paradoxic, but it's the equivalent of letting go the tug of war rope. It stops the competition and THEY learn that life isn't all about competing for power.

    With these kids, once you begin to compete, they will win. Eventually. They can sense it and they keep working for it, but when they do win - it's a defeat in the long run because all they've learnt to do is fight for the wrong reasons.

    So they have to learn to compete against their own past bad habits. Not easy.

  6. SuzyfromTexas

    SuzyfromTexas New Member

    A very good explaination, Marg. I'm trying to get my "brillant" husband to understand this, but he seems to want to play the tug of war game with my six year old. I worry that it will affect their relationship with each other as time goes by....
  7. Allan-Matlem

    Allan-Matlem Active Member

    Maybe if we reframe the question Tips in dealing with ODD behavior to how can I improve my relationship with my child , we will be able to see our role in the interactions , not rely on 'power ' but rather avoid power struggles , the need to resist you and creatively reach out to the kid and ' work with him as opposed to doing with him we will do better.

  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    "ODD can get to the stage where they are automatically oppositional out of habit and a constant sense of needing to assert 'rights'"

    Yes, that's exactly where we stand. I am exhausted. I just want to break the habit once and for all. But we break it in tiny bits, then re-establish it, or so it seems.

    JBLUFC New Member

    Having read all the threads on here i feel that 'letting go of the tug of war rope' isn't always an option. i can now see my 12yr old stepson has always shown signs (we didn't realise as it was extremely mild). over the last 18mths it has gradually got worse. now at secondary school it has suddenly turned into a nightmare. he is refusing point blank to go to school. we've contacted them about the possility of bullying and spoken to him, not being bullied. he gave excuse after excuse not to go and we spoke with the school. they have put a number of things in place so those excuses can't be an issue. now he just point-blank refuses. we've taken things away (console, tv, toys etc) he still refuses and will just stay in his room kicking the wall. we can't just let him stay at home as he needs his education (also, the authorities will then be involved. that can be followed by heavy fines and/or imprisonment). the only thing left to do is take away his 1 true bit of enjoyment (it's the only time we see a normal child) - football (or soccer, depending on were you're from). do i take this away in the hope it works.
  10. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    With him being an adult in his own place, I can't see a lot of the usual ODD techniques working. Maybe someone else could break through to him or just leaving it in his lap would work, refusing to discuss anything with him until he comes to his senses (by your definition).
  11. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Hi, JBLUFC...

    You have added to an "old thread".

    Please start your own thread, and introduce your self.
    Tell us a bit more about your step-son, and the situation there.

    You will get better response on a new thread!
  12. buddy

    buddy New Member

    HI JB, I second IC's thought, you sound like someone who has a lot in common with many of us and I can already think of several people here who can help you sort through some of this if you are looking for kindred spirits! This is a great board. Please start a "new thread" and create a signature under settings to let us know about you and your son (no identifying info of course and share only what is comfortable). Welcome! (PS a good book, many will agree here, is : The Explosive Child by Ross Green. It can help you sort through when to let go of the rope and when not to... smile.)
  13. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    I know with my son the ODD behaviors are brought on by all sorts of things, so it's hard to anticipate what will cause the next meltdown. I have learned to pick my battles with him. Some things, as annoying as they are, are just not worth the argument. It's tough, though. There are days where I truly feel like I have no control over anything here at all!

    Has your son been diagnosed with aything other than ODD? Could there be another underlying cause for his behavior?
  14. monijpm

    monijpm New Member

    I am a single parent on one going on 15 year old boy. He has been diagnosed with ADHD since the age of 5, but not ODD. After going through many years of trying different types of Prescriptions, his behavior seems to have increased in all areas of ODD in the last two years. About a year ago was the first time I heard of ODD, when I took my son to an over night Scared Straight program. Nothing seems to help, and as he gets older he gets worse. He is annoyed and irritated by everything. Sounds of me eating my food annoys him to the point that I cannot even eat around him or he is telling me to stop making noises when I eat. He shouts at me and starting to use foul language.

    I have tried everything and feel like I have not been consistent enough, sometimes I blame myself but I have learned though researching ODD, that it is not the parents fault, It is a disorder.

    I need help in this area.. It's an everyday battle and I seriously need advice.
  15. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Hi & welcome monijpm -
    I just happened to see that you replied to a post that I wrote in 2007. If you want feel free to start your own new post, and introduce yourself a little bit.
    When I wrote this my son Matt was 16. Things unfortunately only got worse. However, now he is 22, and I have a lot more understanding into this ODD pattern. Actually I would not call it ODD for any person anymore. It is kind of a catch all term in my opinion.
    To me it is - sensory overload, needing control, unresolved internal issues that boil over into oppositional behavior and actions.
    Matt is now able to express what it is that is making him feel oppositional, and it is almost always pressure or unrest from within his own psyche or from outside sources. His resistance comes from needing control - opposing is the only way to gain that.
    So, please do not blame yourself! The best you can do for him right now, is get him into therapy. Read The Explosive Child. And ignore his outbursts. Giving power to his outbursts only reinforces the behavior.
    Also, look into sensory integration disorder. If he hates to hear you eating - that is a sensory issue. (Oddly I too have this. I cannot stand it to hear people eat certain crunch foods. Weird, I know :)
    Again, welcome, and if you want to start your own post with more details and a signature that gives us some details about you and your son - you will probably get a lot more responses.
  16. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Guest

    AWESOME post!! And very, very true...
  17. richjeffrey56

    richjeffrey56 New Member

    I am one of those "brilliant" husbands! I have to say that i guess i am confused about how this would be a "tug and war game"? Not trying to sound nasty, genuinly conserned, thats why i am on this site!
  18. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Hi, richjeffery...


    Why don't you start a new thread and tell us a bit about yourself and your challenging child/children?
    This would enable us to provide more targetted answers... because the scope of GFGdom (the land of difficult child kids...) is really huge.
  19. barneysmom

    barneysmom Member


    My younger difficult child has been oppositional 24/7 for about three years straight. This includes consistent lying.

    We're to the point where we just hold the line with consequences appropriate for the situation, ex. limit or remove cell phone. We have not yet found a carrot that works. He seems content with subsistence living (meaning no privileges). If he earns a privilege back, ie. cell phone, he will simply abuse the privilege again.

    So --- I've got to the point where if I can enjoy something with him, I will do it. For instance, I might invite him to watch a TV show we both like (even if has no TV privs we can still enjoy some time together watching The Walking Dead). We have a good time doing this. After The Walking Dead is over, he will immediately resume the ODD behavior (using the term ODD loosely as you know).

    It's tough. And exhausting -- I just nursed myself out of a little depression and am trying to take care of myself. I hold the line and try not to think about it.

    What's helpful to me is to laugh really hard every day. There is a show on Netflix now called Til Death about newlyweds who move in next door to a couple who's been married 30 years. It's a hoot.

    Also I keep a gratitude journal at night which asks me to
    ~evaluate my happiness on a scale from "not at all" to "very happy"
    ~express gratitude for something that happened that day
    ~asks me if I have been in touch with friends
    ~asks if I have done an act of kindness
    ~ then write some kind of "happy note," not sure what that means but I improvise.
    It sounds ridiculous but it is quite a little mood-lifter. An ODD person can be quite demoralizing.

    Jo xxoo
  20. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    I think this is a great topic even if the thread is from 2007. I am in the same situation and many others probably are too. EVERYthing we ask/tell/demand/plead with difficult child to do is met with opposition. EVERYTHING! It is enough to drive a saint insane. I would love to hear ideas and suggestions also.

    I think the gratitude journal is a great idea. As well as laughing daily.... spending quality time together... repairing the relationship... picking your battles... etc. I have not found the one answer that will make difficult child not be oppositional anymore. I don't think that exists.